After NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio encouraged New Yorkers to bundle up and get outdoors for some winter dining adventures yesterday despite the snow and sleet, he ended up following through on his own call to action.
The mayor swung by Upper East Side Italian spot Felice 83 last night around 8:10 p.m. to pick up a takeout order, according to the restaurant and a spokesperson for the mayor’s office. A representative for the restaurant did not disclose the mayor’s exact order, but confirmed that he participated in Felice 83’s Restaurant Week To Go menu, which includes a choice of one of two pastas — either a spinach lasagna with a veal ragu, or a crespella con verdure with sunchokes, wild mushrooms, pearl onion, and butternut squash — plus a slice of tiramisu.
In a press conference on Wednesday, de Blasio mentioned the stop at Felice 83 and used the moment to plug Restaurant Week To Go, a mid-pandemic version of NYC’s long-running, semiannual Restaurant Week hosted by the city’s tourism office.
“I didn’t have enough time to sit down and have a full meal, but I did want to patronize one of our restaurants,” de Blasio said, calling the spot “a great, great establishment.” According to the mayor, Felice 83 had already sent 100 takeout orders out the door last night prior to de Blasio’s visit, due to the Restaurant Week To Go promotion.
The restaurant — one of 15 establishments owned by Italian-centric chain Sant Ambroeus Hospitality Group — declined an interview about the mayor’s visit. Instead, a representative sent the following statement over email attributed to Jacopo Giustiniani, one of the group’s partners:
Felice has been participating in NYC Restaurant Week for nearly a decade, and we are grateful to the city and program organizers for their support during these difficult times; Mayor de Blasio ordered from our Restaurant Week menu. This initiative has helped our profession during a critical time of need, and we’ve seen a significant increase in orders across all our restaurants this week. While outdoor dining and delivery has allowed us to endure the winter season, we’re anxiously looking forward to when indoor dining can safely resume.
Restaurant Week was rebranded amid the pandemic and turned into Restaurant Week To Go this month, with each participating restaurant offering a takeout or delivery meal option priced at $20.21. This year, a record-breaking 571 restaurants signed up to participate in the promotion, far outnumbering the program’s previous record of 391 restaurants over the summer in 2017.
NYC’s Restaurant Week To Go runs from January 25 to 31, with the option for restaurants to extend the promotion through February 7. A full list of participating restaurants is available here.